There was much to be celebrated in the GAA Centre in Portlaoise, last week, where the Portlaoise branch of Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Eireann (CCE) celebrated their end of year concert.
Not only did the teachers from Comhaltas show the skills developed by beginners, intermediate and advanced players of a range of Irish music throughout the night, but also on display for the first time ever were new uileann pipes, harps, drums, a portable piano and a new sound system purchased by Portlaoise Comhaltas thanks to Laois Partnership. PJ Phelan from Portlaoise Comhaltas commented: “One of the main objectives of Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Eireann (CCE) has been the restoration of the playing of uileann pipes and harps to ensure they continue to be part of our Irish heritage. This has now been made possible in Laois thanks to Laois Partnership.
“We cannot express enough gratitude for their financial assistance not only for the purchase of this bank of instruments but also for their support throughout the year and in particular during the Leinster Fleadh, hosted here in Portlaoise.”
Mr Phelan also thanked all the voluntary committee members of Portlaoise Comhaltas, who complete trojan work in order to ensure Irish traditional heritage is maximised throughout the Laois area.
Orla O’Meara and Paul Lynch from Laois Partnership were in attendance on the night and Ms O’Meara commented: “Laois Partnership seeks to enhance the conservation and upgrading of the rural heritage through the administration of a grant scheme, in line with guidelines set down by the Rural Development programme, for the upgrading and development of rural facilities, supporting and developing rural heritage.
“We were therefore delighted to see the instruments at the end of year concert hosted by Portlaoise Comhaltas and it was encouraging to see the enthusiasm and level of interest from students towards learning how to play these instruments.”
These new instruments along with accordion, concertina, tin whistle, guitar, Irish language lessons and much more are taught at the Portlaoise Comhaltas branch in the Gaelscoil, Portlaoise every Monday night. Anyone interested in joining can contact PJ Phelan at 087-2345010.